In a unique opportunity, each student in SNU’s MFA in Creative Writing program spends the entire fourth semester working with a professional editor, revising and editing your own manuscript in a process mirroring what happens when a book is accepted for publication and the writer works with an in-house editor.
You will be carefully matched with an editor who will help you to think more objectively and reflexively about your work. Your editor will provide you with the tools to self-edit your manuscript with increasing confidence at the micro and macro levels. You will learn from their experience and expertise what it takes to make a manuscript not only polished, but eminently publishable.
Working one-on-one with an editor allows a writer to see the manuscript with greater objectivity, and to master the tools to shape its potential into a great reading experience on the page. Students practice revising on two levels: the developmental level, where they push their projects toward completion, and the line level, where they polish their poetry or prose. They learn about the practical aspects of publishing from start to finish, and identify agents and editors who share their aesthetic. They leave the semester with a roadmap for finishing and polishing their manuscripts and a working knowledge of the publishing industry.
In that critical fourth semester, students will learn not only to shape their work as artists, but to approach new projects in the years ahead with strength and well-deserved confidence.
- BA, Latin; MA, Strategic Communications, University of Minnesota
Anitra Budd is a freelance copywriter and editor for a variety of clients, including independent authors, the Loft Literary Center, FedEx, Thrivent Financial, Wise Ink, Red Line Editorial, and 3M. In her past job as acquiring and managing editor at Coffee House Press she worked with numerous authors, including Kirsten Kaschock, T. Geronimo Johnson, Kate Bernheimer, Ron Padgett, Lincoln Michel, Christopher Merkner, and many others.
In addition to her writing and editorial work, Budd is a visiting assistant professor at Macalester College (St. Paul, Minnesota) and a teaching specialist at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. She has presented on publishing and editing topics at a variety of venues, including The Thread on Minnesota Public Radio, Columbia College’s Story Week, SUNY–Binghamton, Hamline University, and the Minnesota Book Publishers Roundtable. She currently lives with her family in Minneapolis.
Rick Campbell’s most recent book is The History of Steel: A Selected Works (2014), from All Nations Press. His other books include Dixmont (Autumn House 2008); The Traveler’s Companion (Black Bay Books 2004); Setting The World In Order (Texas Tech 2001); and A Day’s Work (State Street Press 2000). He’s won a Pushcart Prize, an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and two poetry fellowships from the Florida Arts Council.
Campbell was the director of Anhinga Press from 1992 to 2014, during which time the press published about 80 books of poetry. He is a founder and the Director of the Florida Literary Arts Coalition and its Other Words Conference in St. Augustine, FL.
His poems and essays have appeared in The Georgia Review, The Florida Review, Prairie Schooner, Fourth River, Kestrel, Puerto Del Sol, New Madrid and other journals. He was chosen to take part in the Georgia Poetry Circuit eight school tour, and has read or presented workshops at over 100 schools and conferences in the last thirty years.
Campbell teaches English at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida.
Editing, Writing for Children & Young Adults
- BA in Creative Writing, University of California, San Diego
Joanna Cárdenas is an editor at Viking Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. She acquires and edits picture books, chapter books, and middle grade (including graphic novels). Joanna has edited books by Julie Falatko, Tim Miller, Margaret Mincks, Mac Barnett, Greg Pizzoli, Celia C. Pérez, Christopher Weyant, Aaron Reynolds, and Pablo Cartaya, among others.
Joanna is also on the steering committee for Latinx in Publishing, a nonprofit organization committed to supporting and increasing the number of Latino/a/x in the publishing industry, as well as promoting literature by, for, and about Latino/a/x people.
- B.A. in History, Cornell University
Peter Catapano was born in Brooklyn, NY. After college he studied graduate creative writing at Brooklyn College with fiction writer Jonathan Baumbach and poetry with Allen Ginsberg. He was an adjunct writing instructor at Brooklyn College and has taught Philosophy and the Media with the philosopher Simon Critchley at The New School’s Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, and A Course for Aspiring Philosophers at The School of the New York Times in 2017. He appears frequently as a speaker and guest lecturer at schools and universities to share his insights on writing, editing and the media landscape.
Catapano began his career at The Times as an assistant to The Times Editorial Board in 1998. He became a copy editor in 2000 for The New York Times News Service and joined the Opinion section as an editor in 2005, where he began developing projects specifically for the web. Since then, Catapano has created and edited some of the most popular New York Times online series — The Stone (on philosophy), Anxiety (worry and mental health), Happy Days (contentment), Menagerie (animals), Home Fires (veteran voices) and Disability (voices of authors with disabilities) — some of which helped launch the careers of several writers. He received a Publisher’s Award in 2008 for his work in pioneering the online series.
Catapano has edited and published roughly 1,500 pieces in The Times, where he has worked directly with both beginners and highly accomplished thinkers and writers. These include Arthur Danto, E.O. Wilson, Errol Morris, Alan Gurganis, Annette Gordon-Reed, Frans de Waal, Peter Singer, Simon Critchley, Thomas Nagel, Laszlo Krasznahorkai, Pico Iyer, Brian Turner, Phil Klay, Roy Scranton, Steven Pinker, Siri Hustvedt and Oliver Sacks. In 2015, Catapano was asked by Dr. Sacks to edit his final essays in The Times chronicling his illness and death, which were later collected in “Gratitude” — now a best-selling book by Knopf.
The Stone, the philosophy series established by Catapano and the philosopher Simon Critchley, was the longest-running online series in Opinion (2010-2021). It attracted millions of readers each year and won numerous Best Philosophical Op-Ed awards during its run. The series has also resulted in three anthologies published by Liveright Books: “The Stone Reader: Modern Philosophy in 133 Arguments,” “Modern Ethics in 77 Arguments” and the forthcoming “Question Everything.” The series has helped bring philosophical thought back into the national conversation. In addition, his groundbreaking Disability series (2016-2020) was the first platform in the mainstream media by and about people with disabilities. That series also resulted in a book, “About Us: Essays from the Disability Series of the New York Times.”
Catapano has also written and published more than a dozen essays in various publications, including The Times, Salon, Killing the Buddha and The Los Angeles Review of Books. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, the poet Joanna Sit.
editing, creative non-fiction, journalism, ghostwriting, public speaking
- Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, emphasis in creative nonfiction, Bennington College.
Nana-Ama Danquah is an author, editor, freelance journalist, ghostwriter, public speaker, actress, and teacher. Her groundbreaking memoir, Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman’s Journey Through Depression (W.W. Norton & Co.) was hailed by the Washington Post as “A vividly textured flower of a memoir, one of the finest to come along in years.” A native of Ghana, Ms. Danquah is the editor of four anthologies: Becoming American: Personal Essays by First Generation Immigrant Women (Hyperion); Shaking the Tree: New Fiction and Memoir by Black Women (W.W. Norton & Co.); The Black Body (Seven Stories Press); and Accra Noir (Akashic), as part of their popular noir series.
Her articles have been published in newspapers, journals, and magazines, such as the Africa Report, the Village Voice, the Los Angeles Times, Allure and Essence. Her essays and poems have been heavily anthologized and used in high school and university textbooks.
As a ghostwriter and editor, Ms. Danquah has worked with celebrities and other high-profile individuals in the worlds of entertainment, business and politics, writing and editing book proposals as well as full-length books. Many of these have been New York Times bestsellers. From 2012-2016, she was the International Speechwriter for H.E. John Dramani Mahama, the President of Ghana, her birth country. In that capacity, Ms. Danquah wrote four United Nations General Assembly speeches, several State of the Nation addresses, and various speeches delivered by President Mahama at high-level conferences, meetings and panels.
A highly sought-after speaker herself, Ms. Danquah has delivered keynote speeches and addresses at dozens of conferences and gatherings throughout the world. She has been featured at the Carter Center; Barnard College; University of Ghana, Legon; University of California, Los Angeles; Vanderbilt University; Hamline University, and many other institutions. She has taught at Otis College of Arts and Sciences, Antioch College’s MFA in Creative Writing program, and the NYU in Ghana program. At the University of Ghana, she was a Visiting Scholar at the School of Communication Studies and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English. Additionally, she taught Creative Writing for the City of Manhattan Beach, California as a California Arts Council Artist-in-Residence, and Poetry to grades K-12 in the Los Angeles Unified School District as a California Poet-in-the-Schools.
Ms. Danquah is based in Southern California.
- BA, Amherst College
I work with authors and publishers to share ideas that deserve to be read. I’m a former editor from Oxford University Press and I’ve worked in book publishing since 2011. I help writers present their work clearly without compromising on style.
As an editor, I take pride in being an excellent reader. My experience is varied. I’ve read for literary agents at renowned agencies, managed the publication of award-winning medical resources, and assisted in the development of scholarly references that have shaped the way we conduct research today. In all of my work, I’m attentive to the relationships that writers build with their readers on the page.
I care about the details and I believe in the power of books. I use inclusive language editing techniques to help avoid bias and ensure that every book is accessible to a wide range of readers. I’m interested in prescriptive and narrative nonfiction including environmental science; food studies; health and wellness; cultural criticism; and discussions of race, gender, and sexuality.
Editing, Graphic Memoir
Kristen Radtke is a writer, editor and designer based in Brooklyn. She is the managing editor of Sarabande Books, and the film and video editor of TriQuarterly magazine.
Her graphic memoir Imagine Wanting Only This is forthcoming from Pantheon Books. Her work has appeared in Oxford American, The Daily Beast, Tin House, Buzzfeed, Electric Literature, Huffington Post, and many other places.
Publishers Weekly named her a “future leader of the American publishing industry” in its 2015 Star Watch, and Buzzfeed Books named her design one of the most beautiful book covers of 2015. She has an MFA from the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program.
- MA, Duke University
Erika Stevens is the editorial director at Coffee House Press, where she has served in various editorial capacities for a decade. Erika currently acquires poetry, nonfiction, and fiction for Coffee House. Erika was previously in acquisitions at the University of Georgia Press and the University Press of Florida; she started her career in publishing at Duke University Press and UNC Press. She has taught in the Graduate Program in Book Publishing at Portland State University and in the Sierra Nevada University MFA program. She dabbles in German to English translation and has freelanced for authors, presses, and nonprofit organizations.